Group Innovation+ was established as the central innovation unit in our Group in 2015. It orchestrates all innovation activities at Deutsche Telekom and is responsible for creating innovative cross-segment products and services. Group Innovation+ merges innovations wherever we identify synergies for the Group. Innovations occur not only within our innovation unit but also in the units working on our traditional core business and in marketing units in the national companies.
Group Innovation+ drives new areas of innovation with a longer development horizon of three to five years; the challenge it faces lies in backing the key solutions for the not-so-near future today. At the same time, our innovation unit is also directly involved in traditional product development for our operating segments. The development horizon in this case is one to two years. We strive to enrich our product portfolio with more new products and innovative solutions, which is vital if we are to position our operating segments as attractive and competitive elements in our core portfolio.
INNOVATION YOU CAN TRUST
Group Innovation+ has the ambition to deliver “innovation you can trust.” The unit develops innovations that represent the essential brand attributes of our Group, namely trust and reliability. Our products and offers must naturally be safe, but “innovation you can trust” means more than this. Our innovations are designed to work easily, our products to interact seamlessly with the network, service and partner offers. It is only the combination of innovation and core business activities that will ultimately grow successful innovations for our customers. Group Innovation+, our operating segments and other innovation-oriented areas, such as Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), are closely networked and regularly exchange views so that we can identify our customers’ needs and supply them with innovative products and services.
“Innovation you can trust” is also the guiding theme of our internal collaboration. We can rely on each other and know that we are working on the right ideas. Innovation cannot be prescribed. Innovation is a culture that must be practiced and nurtured. Large enterprises like our Group, especially, need a vibrant corporate culture that fosters innovation. Key elements of this culture include fast decisions and implementation on the basis of lean internal processes, freeing up creative potential, promoting and challenging new ideas, and entrepreneurial initiative.
INNOVATION FOCUS – FOUR AREAS OF INNOVATION
For innovation work to succeed, innovation activities must be geared to the Group as a whole and follow a holistic concept. We therefore rely – as the following graphic shows – on our four inter-related innovation areas: consumer products, business customer products, network/infrastructure, and processes/service.
Customers are at the focus of all our activities, regardless of whether they are consumers or business customers. We are committed to identifying customer issues, anticipating customer needs and finding innovative solutions in response.
Here, it is essential to network the individual innovation areas, especially since many innovation topics relate to more than one of the four fields, e.g., convergent offers as a key strategic principle for our consumer products. Group Innovation+ is working to integrate more services in this convergence strategy, thus increasing the attraction of offerings such as MagentaEins. In the case of business customers, our aim is to offer a simple, modular product portfolio and, at the same time, to combine our standard products intelligently with products from our partners. Our focus on the network side is on seamless, secure connectivity, above all for business customers - on a global scale and with quality differentiation. In the processes/service innovation area, we want to anticipate and respond to the requests and needs of our customers as specifically as possible and with consistent quality across all contact channels.
Clear process structures give ideas the scope they need to grow and transform into innovative products and services. As the following graphic shows, innovation processes in our Company pass through four phases.
- They all start with an idea – arising from market and trend research, customer feedback, from our staff in the product and innovation units, or from partnerships/collaboration with our partners.
- During the selection phase, we evaluate each idea: How easy is it to implement? How great is its potential? How high is customer interest rated?
- In the development phase, we integrate customer desires and requirements for design and handling into the product or service concept.
- Finally, the product or service is transferred to the market.
In each of the four phases, we naturally verify the extent to which the resources we use are in proportion to the anticipated result. This may well lead to development of a product being abandoned during one of the phases of the innovation process, which is a vital option, since not every good idea has the potential to become a good product or a good service. Every innovation must offer our customers added value.
Our established innovation governance concept manages innovation processes in the Group. It includes the Portfolio & Innovation Board, which makes sure we get our priorities right. The board identifies and selects innovation focuses for our Group and decides how they will be executed in order to define and implement an innovative product portfolio that offers maximum chances of success. In order to implement these strategic innovation focuses, we also continuously enhance our internal financing formats. This means that, with an additional innovation budget, we can equip new innovation projects with resources at short notice and without red tape. Such financing is granted independently of annual planning periods, and therefore intensifies our focus on market and customer requirements. With these resources, we finance both centrally managed innovations, e.g., through Group Innovation+, and local innovation developments, e.g., directly from our operating segments. This is subject to the proviso that the product and service ideas in question are in line with our Group’s central innovation focuses.
Sustainability is another of our product development drivers. The demand is growing for digital solutions that are secure, environment and climate-friendly, and offer added value for our society. We are therefore working hard not only to improve the security of our services but also focus our development work on more energy-efficient technologies that reduce CO2 emissions, and durable, reusable products and digital solutions in the fields of e-health and e-mobility. 12
METHODS AND CONCEPTS
Design thinking. The design thinking approach is the basis on which we tread new ground and acquire new insights. We have adopted it to ensure we differentiate ourselves from the market by offering outstanding customer experiences. Group Innovation+ has, for this reason, defined a standard design thinking concept. Alongside the various design thinking methods, it includes a design process which is valid for the entire Group and can be transferred to development processes already in place in our two operating segments, Germany and Europe. Scope for learning, trying out and applying the defined content is offered on our internal training platform, the Design Academy. Design thinking is establishing itself not only as a mindset within the Group but also enriches and improves actual collaboration across all Group units. Design thinking therefore produces design doing.
Creating scope for ideas. Our Digital Innovation Arena in Berlin creates the ideal scenario to produce ideas for digital life in the future. It offers first and foremost an optimal working environment, from a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, modern premises and facilities for lively exchange which are available round the clock, through to creative rooms for relaxation. Here employees from T-Labs, from hub:raum, from the design and partnering areas work together on premises extending over around 8,000 square meters. The creative mix of people from all areas of our innovation business, ranging from entrepreneurs to developers and designers, makes the Digital Innovation Arena the hotspot for ideas in Germany.